MANILA, Philippines — Several policemen are now facing charges of homicide and frustrated homicide for the death of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino.
They are members of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group namely P/Lt.Col. Harry Sucayre, P/Maj. Shyrile Tan and P/Lt. Julio Armeza Jr.
The incident happened on March 8 which also resulted in the death of the mayor’s security escort and driver.
Meanwhile, two counts of murder charges were also filed against the mayor’s son, Ronald Mark Aquino, Pol. Corp. Ramil Rosales and several John Does for the deaths of P/Capt. Joselito Tabada and P/SSgt. Romeo Laoyon.
These accounts were based on the sworn statements of witnesses and evidence collected from the crime scene by Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).
According to Police Cpl. Edsel Omega, the younger Aquino and two other men armed with high-caliber firearms fired at the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit or PDEU and killed Tabada and Laoyon.
“So you stand by your statement na nakita mo si Mark Aquino na bumabaril at saka si Rosales dun sa natumbang kasamahan mo sa taas?” asked Senator Ronald dela Rosa, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
“Yes, your honor,” said P/Cpl. Edsel Omega during the hearing.
Meanwhile, PNP-Samar maintained that the incident was a shoot out and not an ambush as they claim it was the other group that shot first.
Mark Aquino denied the allegations saying he was at a resort at the time of the shooting, waiting for his father to arrive to celebrate his birthday.
“Pagdating namin po dun, unang tiningnan ko po ang sasakyan ng father ko po. Naabutan ko po na walang buhay na siya at tadtad po ng bala. At wala po akong ibang ginawa kundi yakapin ang tatay ko,” Mark said.
“Nung pagpunta ko po doon, tahimik na po. Wala na pong putukan at marami na pong sibilyan,” he added.
Mark believes it was a planned murder with politics as the motive behind the slay.
Based on a witness cop’s account, he received an order from PDEU Chief P/Capt. Joselito Tabada and one of Mayor Aquino’s political rivals, to link the late mayor to illegal drugs trade.
But according to the PNP and PDEA, Mayor Aquino was not on their drug list.
“I was called my attention by Tabada. Sabi niya sa akin kung pwede daw gumawa ng isang documento for search warrant at saka pag-surveillance sa bahay ni Mayor Aquino. That time sir, 2 options ang binigay sakin — it’s either to apply search warrant o i-ambush nalang si Mayor Aquino,” said the witness from Mark Aquino’s camp.
Meanwhile based on the presentation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the bureau ruled out ambush though it was still sketchy as to who was the real mastermind behind the killing. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)